Trust celebrates 10-year partnership with Phoenix Futures

Glenlude tree-planting event marks a ten-year partnership between the Trust and addiction recovery group, Phoenix Futures

Last Friday, dozens of people from Glasgow and Lanarkshire who are recovering from alcohol and drug problems converged at Glenlude to participate in a mass tree-planting event.

The event marked a ten-year partnership between the Trust and Phoenix Futures which provides services for people with drug and alcohol problems.

The partnership centres around the pioneering ‘Recovery Through Nature’ programme, run by Phoenix Futures, which delivers the Trust’s John Muir Award, which gets people of all ages and backgrounds involved with the natural environment.
The day of celebration included:

•    a reception in the Trust’s purpose-built volunteer shelter at Glenlude
•    short speeches from representatives of both organisations
•    planting of 288 native trees, including oak, birch, ash and rowan.

An area of Glenlude was set aside three years ago for the Phoenix Forest which is looked after by service users of the recovery charity. For every individual who successfully completes a Phoenix Futures programme in Scotland, a new tree is planted. Each of the 288 trees planted on Friday is a mark on the landscape representing each of the 288 people who successfully came through the programme over the past year.

Toby Clark, the John Muir Award Scotland Manager told the 50-strong gathering that over 800 Awards have been achieved through Phoenix Futures over the past ten years, by service users and staff.

“We’re really proud of our partnership with Phoenix Futures,” he said. “It’s been fantastic for the John Muir Trust. We’ve learned a lot from you – it’s broadened our horizons and helped shape and influence the way we work with others.”

Phoenix Futures Service user, Fiona from Motherwell, said: “When I came onto this programme three and half months ago, I was absolutely broken. Now I feel on the road to recovery. It’s great being here, among people who know exactly what you’re going through yourself, of helping making things grow, of growing yourself as a person, is amazing.”

Stephen from East Kilbride said: “I had a heroin problem and was referred to Phoenix by my drugs worker and started right away on the Recovery Through Nature programme. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me. Coming from a big town I had never really thought about nature before but I’ve really loved days like this”

On top of the dozens of service users and staff from Phoenix Futures, the event was also attended by representatives of the John Muir Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, the RSPB, the National Trust for Scotland and North Lanarkshire Council.

Many thanks to the Woodland Trust for supplying the trees through its Community Tree Pack scheme.

Photographs by Toby Clark and Craig Maclean.